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  • Publication # 14-RA004

Electronic health records can lower prescribing errors

Health Information Technology

A study of physicians who transitioned from a locally developed electronic health record (EHR) to a new, commercial EHR found that, over time and with system refinements, use of a commercial EHR with advanced clinical decision support led to lower prescribing errors. Error rates were significantly lower 2 years after transition compared to pre-implementation, and 12 weeks and 1 year after transition. The principal refinement to the EHR was a reduction in alert firings. 

The study included 1,905 prescriptions written by 16 physicians at an academic-affiliated ambulatory clinic. The new study suggests that iterative system refinements to an EHR, such as the reduction in alert firings, can help maximize safety benefits. This study was supported by AHRQ (HS17029). 

See "A long-term follow-up evaluation of electronic health record prescribing safety," by Erika L. Abramson, M.D., Sameer Malhotra, M.D., S. Nena Osorio, M.D., and others in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association 20, pp. e52-e58.


Page last reviewed February 2014
Internet Citation: Electronic health records can lower prescribing errors: Health Information Technology. February 2014. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.


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